...and all while still doing his job as a Vermont Senator and introducing new bills to Congress.
(* Click on all the images in this post to enlarge to 1,300 pixels wide).
Political campaign speeches rarely draw the same large crowds as professional or college sporting events. After all, most people don't usually have the time and tolerance to go to a political event just to hear someone speak for an hour or longer.
In the U.S. motor speedways usually draw the largest crowds. For example, in 2004 the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana drew 257,325 people. (Pictured below)
And horse racing does very well too. The 2015 Kentucky Derby drew 170,513 people to Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. (Pictured below)
And of course, there's always football too. On September 7, 2013 the game between Michigan State and Notre Dame drew a crowd of 115,109 to Michigan Stadium at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor Michigan (pictured below) — beating any NFL Super Bowl crowd in attendance.
But for politicians, then-candidate senator Obama may have drawn the largest campaign crowds ever to date:
- In December 2007 (with Oprah Winfrey's endorsement) Obama drew 30,000 in Columbia, South Carolina (where Bill Clinton drew 90,000 in October 2004).
- In April 2008 Obama drew 35,000 in Philadelphia, Pa.
- In May 2008 Obama drew 75,000 in Portland, Oregon.
- In October 2008 Obama drew 100,000 people in St. Louis, Missouri (pictured below) — and days later, an estimated 100,000 in Denver, Colorado.
The only big political campaign events this year that even come close to Obama's were those for Senator Bernie Sanders.[* Update on October 7, 2015: Tonight on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow said at the opening of her show that in July 1968 Eugene McCarthy broke the record for campaign events with 45,000 people at Fenway Park in Boston. Do we need a fact-check on the previous numbers mentioned?]
One of Donald Trump's campaign events had a crowd (estimated by the city of Mobile, Alabama) of 30,000. But several media reports described the 43,000-seat arena as half empty — and estimated the crowd size closer to 20,000 (pictured below) — but still, much larger than any of Hillary Clinton's campaign events.
But so far — in 2015 — Senator Bernie Sanders has drawn the largest campaign crowds — and beating his media-reported Democratic "front-runner" by a huge landslide.
A brief history of Bernie Sanders' campaign events
(Pictured below) On May 26, 2015 Senator Bernie Sanders officially announced his bid for presidency of the United States to a large crowd at Waterfront Park in Burlington, Vermont.
(Pictured below) On June 13, 2015 Hillary Clinton officially launched her presidential campaign in New York City (the most populated city in the U.S.) at Freedom Park on Roosevelt Island with a crowd of 5,500 — her biggest crowd to date. (Media pundits always claim that it's Senator Bernie Sanders who always draws the "white" crowds, but Hillary's supporters look rather pale as well.)
(Pictured below) On May 31, 2015 Bernie Sanders drew a crowd of 5,000 to a campaign event in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
(Pictured below) On June 20, 2015 in Denver, Colorado Bernie Sanders drew another 5,000 supporters at another campaign event.
(Pictured below) On July 1, 2015 a crowd of at least 10,000 showed up to see Bernie Sanders in Madison, Wisconsin — nearly twice the size of the biggest crowd of his main primary challenger, Hillary Clinton.
(Pictured below) On July 6, 2015 in Portland, Maine (a city of only 66,000) what had been scheduled as a town hall forum drew an estimated crowd of 8,500 people for Bernie Sanders.
(Pictured below) On July 18, 2015 Bernie Sanders drew a crowd of over 11,000 in Phoenix, Arizona — a typically conservative state.
(Pictured below) On August 8, 2015 Bernie drew a crowd of over 12,000 in Seattle, Washington. The rally took place in the basketball arena of the University of Washington, which was filled to capacity.
(Pictured below) On August 9, 2015 Bernie Sanders drew a crowd of 28,000 people in Portland, Oregon — 20,000 inside the Moda Center with another 8,000 in the overflow area.
(Pictured below) On August 10, 2015 in Los Angeles, California Bernie Sanders filled to capacity the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena with over 27,000 people. As of that time, Bernie had already drawn at least 100,000 people to his events. FYI: Bernie's smaller rallies, campaign events and town hall meetings aren't mentioned in this post. (Click on each photo below to enlarge)
(Pictured below) On August 19, 2015 Bernie had 5,200 Texans turn out for his rally at the University of Houston.
Most recently, in Senator Elizabeth Warren's home State of Massachusetts: On October 3, 2015 the 26,000 capacity Boston Convention Center was completely packed for Bernie Sanders' rally — and then the overflow space outside of the convention center had also quickly filled up. No hi-resolution photos were available to date.) The rally was also mentioned at The Washington Post.
(Pictured below) Bernie also attracted about 6,000 people to another rally in Springfield, Massachusetts.
As an aside...
(Pictured below) On September 14, 2015 Bernie Sanders spoke at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Recent Polls and Debate Schedules...
The debate schedule is here (scroll down the page) — and the current collective national polls for all the Democratic candidates are here and here. Democrats in Iowa are here and here — and Democrats in New Hampshire are here and here — and Democrats in South Carolina are here — and a poll from the website www.democrats.com is here.